Resources: Reports/Whitepapers

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, several first responder organizations produced regional reports and new Incident Command System (ICS) protocols which add context to the ways in which social media can enhance disaster response, both for immediate situational awareness and for long term data analysis. The following are reports and whitepapers which describe ways in which organizations can leverage social media for crisis decision making.

Using Social Media in Disasters

  • Using Social Media for Enhanced Situational Awareness and Decision Support, Homeland Security, June, 2014
    This report discusses examples of how agencies currently use social media to enhance situational awareness and support operational decision-making, as well as challenges and potential applications. It also identifies critical areas requiring further consideration and research, including: information application, privacy, legal and security challenges, data and open standards, and technology development.
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  • The Case for Integrating Crisis Response with Social Media
    American Red Cross, August 2010
    A white paper published by the American Red Cross discussing the public’s expectation of how disaster responders use the social web and the reality of most government and nonprofit capacities.
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  • Personal Social Engagement Guidelines 2.0
    American Red Cross, June 2012
    A guide for Red Cross employees on how to navigate the blurry lines between professional and personal lives on the internet.
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  • Social Engagement Handbook 2.0
    American Red Cross, May 2012
    A Red Cross handbook outlining steps that Red Cross units can take to have highly engaged and successful social engagement.
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  • How Americans use Social Tools in Disasters: Infographic
    American Red Cross, August 2011
    An infographic depicting the different ways in which Americans would use social media during disasters.
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  • American Red Cross Social Media Handbook
    American Red Cross, September 2010
    The Social Media Handbook, used primarily to help Red Cross chapters begin social media outreach. This handbook can be used to create social media handbooks for other organizations if attribution is given to the Red Cross.
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  • Emergency Mgmt 2.0: How #Socialmedia & New Tech Are Transforming Preparedness, Response, & Recovery #Disasters
    House Subcommittee Hearing Witness Statements, July 2013
    Video of witness statements from the Subcommittee hearing on emergency management, social media, and new technology.
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  • Case Study: How the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene uses location-based social media to monitor public health emergencies and shape their communication strategies
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  • Case Study: How the how the City of New York used Hootsuite to triple its online audience
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Superstorm Sandy and Social Media

  • Lessons Learned: Social Media and Hurricane Sandy
    Virtual Social Media Working Group and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) First Responders Group, June 2013
    This document provides an overview on how social media was used in preparation for, in response to, and in recovery from Hurricane Sandy. It also discusses processes identified by the first responder community as best practices; presents examples, themes in applications, and lessons learned; identifies gaps in technology, process, and/or policy; and offers points requiring further discussion.
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  • How Sandy Changed Social Media Strategies in New York City
    An interview with Emily Rahimi, the New York City Fire Department’s social media manager during Superstorm Sandy, on how social medias strategies changed after the storm.
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  • Sandy Marked a Shift for Social Media Use in Disasters
    An article examining the ways in which various government agencies and other organizations used social media to communicate with the public post-Sandy.
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  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Superstorm Sandy, and Social Media: A New York City Perspective
    A Forbes article presenting social media posts and stories from New York City during Superstorm Sandy.
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Courses and Apps

  • FEMA Course IS042: Social Media in Emergency Management
    An online, 3-hour FEMA course on better practices to build capabilities in the use of social media technologies in emergency management organizations and to assist them in furthering their emergency response mission.
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  • Ready NYC App
    A mobile application created by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications for the development of a user’s personal emergency plan in preparation for a disaster event.
    Apple: Download from iTunes
    Android: Download from Google Play